Coldridge formerly Coleridge, is a small parish situated on the River Taw, 10 miles north-west of the ancient market town of Crediton and lies slightly north of the B3220 between Brushford and Nymett Rowland. Set deep in the heart of Devon, away from any main roads it still retains it's country village atmosphere and remains unspoilt by modern urbanisation. The hamlet of East Leigh which lies ½ a mile south of the parish is also part of Coldridge.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, as Colrige - it would appear that Coldridges existence as a settlement, dates back to at least Norman times and possibly even earlier. Its name is believed to have derived from the "ridge where charcoal is made" and the fact that it is thought the area was once woodland, this is possibly an accurate description of how the parish got its name.
Religion in the Parish
Coldridge's parish Church is dedicated to St. Matthew, although formerly it was dedicated to St. Mary - evidence of this appears in both White's (1850) "History, Gazetteer and Directory of Devonshire" and also in Kelly's (1893) "Post Office Directory of Devonshire". It was built in the 15th century, although there is evidence of its Norman origins with the church still retaining its Norman font. Inside the church is a tomb in memory of three brothers who were killed by lightening there.
Other religious denominations within the parish included the Plymouth Brethren Chapel at Aller Bridge.
White (1850) mentions a parish school, partly supported by Hon. Newton Ferres, so there appears to have been an early school in the parish. Joseph MASHFORD was the school-master in the parish in 1850 (White, 1850).
From Kelly's (1893) we find that another school was built here in 1874, originally to cater for about 95 children, although the average attendance at the time was around 55 children. The school mistress in 1893 was Mrs. Catherine LUXTON. The picture to the left, submitted by Ruth Bartlett in Swansea, Wales, shows the Victorian School of Coldridge, built in the typical style of the Victorian era. It is no longer in use, but still stands as a reminder of its Victorian past.
A look at White's (1850) and Kelly's(1893) trade directories shows us that Coldridge had a number of Public Houses, although comparing those listed in the two trade directories, the number appears to have fallen between 1850 and 1893, perhaps in line with the decline in population of the parish. See Historic Populations. By 1893 only the "Stag's Head" is mentioned, but previously there also appear to have been pubs called "Ring of Bells" and also the "Ancient Inn". White (1850) also lists a victualler called John HARRIS at Taw Bridge. Listed below are the victuallers of each of these Public Houses mentioned in White's (1850) and Kelly's (1893) Trade Dircectories of Devon.
Coldridge was another country parish whose predominant occupation was farming. Kelly (1893) tells us that wheat, barley and oats were the chief crops grown in the parish at that time. There also appears to have been a Mill in Coldridge, powered by water.
If you have ancestors from the area, you must visit Ray Taylor's wonderful website Coldridge Village Devon where he does the parish justice with both pictures and information about this beautiful "sleepy" village. I will leave it to him to tell you more.
Source: 1801-1991 Census ©Crown Copyright
Data originally from Devon Facts and Figures part of the Devon County Council website. [no longer available]
Maps of the Area